Shredded Brussels sprouts are quickly seared then topped with crisp bacon, tangy cranberries, and crunchy nuts for a super satisfying side dish that complements poultry, salmon, beef, and pork.
Growing up, Brussels sprouts were not a welcome guest on my dinner plate.
Every fall, my parents would comment as to how the sprouts from Stoner’s Central Market stand were simply the best, especially after the first frost. This befuddled me.
Years later, I stood in front of the very same market stand, scanning the produce options for my growing family. I spied those cruciferous green balls and felt a strange urge to give them another try.
I remember John Stoner holding up one of the sprouts and pointing out the white, freshly cut end. Often, the cut end is brownish and dry. But not John’s! I marveled at the pride he took in his produce, and his words stuck with me.
Be it a Brussels sprout, an artichoke, or a head of lettuce, peeking at the end where the produce was cut from the plant really does speak to its freshness and taste.
Sure enough, when I cooked those sprouts that evening, something had changed. I liked them. I really liked them!
Even funnier, my then three-year-old son uttered two words I never expected – words that I never uttered about a vegetable at his age: “Oh, yum!”
My go-to method of preparing Brussels sprouts is to lightly coat them with olive oil, season liberally with fresh pepper and kosher salt, and roast at 425℉ on an oiled baking sheet for 15 -20 minutes, depending on size.
I think the sprouts taste best when the side touching the tray takes on some golden brown caramelization. That said, I do like a hint of firmness to them.
For an altogether different preparation, the following recipe offers a variety of textures and flavors and may be served hot or at room temperature.
It’s a unique side dish – like a hearty, warm salad – and my family adores it. The dish is also a lovely addition to a holiday table.
The first time I made this recipe, I had a second son. You never know with kids, but happily, I heard those same two words again: “Oh, yum!”
Here’s hoping you hear the very same words!
Following is a quick photo overview, which includes several convenient options along the way:
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook!
- 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (may substitute pre-shredded sprouts)
- 3 slices bacon, chopped (may omit and substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil)
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (could use pecans)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- Optional: a squeeze of a small lemon wedge
Prep the Brussels sprouts: Remove the core from the Brussels sprouts and then thinly slice or shred. Helpful hints: I cut an upside down “V” to remove the core. Also, the slicing (not shredding) disc of a food processor will make quick work of the shredding. Cut large sprouts in half before shredding.
Cook the bacon: Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet.
Sear the Brussels sprouts: Return the pan to the heat and, once hot, add the Brussels sprouts, followed by the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. (If you are not using bacon, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan, before adding the sprouts.) Spread the sprouts in an even layer, press down lightly, and allow them to sear for a minute or so, just until the edges start to lightly brown and crisp.
Stir once, spread the sprouts out again, and continue to cook until they are bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes more. (The goal is tender sprouts and a light sear, yet with a hint of texture remaining.)
Remove the pan from the heat and top: Add the walnuts, cranberries, and optional squeeze of lemon juice (just a light squeeze – start with 1 teaspoon if you’d like a precise measurement – adds a hint of brightness). Toss to combine, and then sprinkle with the reserved bacon.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and may be gently reheated or eaten cold, as preferred.
Prep-ahead tip: You may shred the Brussels sprouts up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag, pressing out the excess air.
One more thing... Though I typically don’t add cheese to this recipe, crumbled feta or blue cheese would be a great addition for those who enjoy. Sharp cheddar, either coarsely shredded or chopped into small cubes, would complement beautifully too.
Recipe first posted November 24, 2013.